Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said that the government should not make him change the name of the political party he plans to form if it is not illegal.
He made the remark on the sidelines of a visit to Miaoli County when asked about the Ministry of the Interior having received complaints about the Chinese name of Ko’s new party.
Local media reported on Wednesday night that documents submitted by Ko to the ministry showed that he was planning to form a new political party on Tuesday next week. The party’s Chinese-language name (台灣民眾黨) roughly translates to “Taiwan people’s party.”
Photo: Peng Chien-li, Taipei Times
Ko confirmed the plan at a news conference on Thursday morning.
Ko’s new party shares the same Chinese name as a party founded in 1927 by physician and social activist Chiang Wei-shui (蔣渭水), who Ko has on several occasions said is someone he looks up to.
Ko has said he wants to complete Chiang’s unfilled wishes by changing Taiwan’s political culture.
However, Chiang Li-jung (蔣理容), the deputy executive director of the Chiang Wei-shui Cultural Foundation and Chiang Wei-shui’s grandniece, wrote on Facebook that although everyone has the freedom to form a party in a democracy, she thinks Ko, who was a physician like her granduncle, might be using his name as a disguise for other purposes.
She urged people to examine Ko’s values and whether he really embodies the spirit of her granduncle, saying that he did not pander to or succumb to the authorities during the Japanese colonial era.
“Taiwan is the Taiwanese people’s Taiwan,” she wrote, adding that it was a remark her granduncle had often made, in addition to his famous quote: “Citizens must be united, as unity brings strength.”
She hopes anyone who claims to be his successor bears that in mind, Chiang Li-jung said.
The foundation also issued a statement asking Ko to reconsider the name of his party.
Ko yesterday said that the Democratic Progressive Party faced obstruction from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) when it was formed more than 30 years ago, and after the three decades it took to achieve democracy, his new party should not be boycotted.
“As long as it is not illegal, they should not use any other reasons to block it,” he said.
Separately yesterday, Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said that people have the freedom to form political parties, and his ministry would follow the law when reviewing Ko’s application.
Additional reporting by Huang Hsin-po
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